Guest Author - Barb Conley
After the Thanksgiving leftovers are put away and the dishes are washed, sooner or later the annual question is bound to be asked, “When are we getting our Christmas tree?”
In response, some will visit a tree lot. Others will drag the synthetic tree out of the attic or basement and put it together branch-by-branch. A few might even buy a small live tree from a local nursery for future planting in the yard. I’ve done all of those things, but my favorite Christmas tree memories are of the years we cut our own at a local Christmas tree farm. You see, it’s not just “getting the tree,” it’s a whole holiday event; a family outing that for some becomes an annual tradition. It’s a great opportunity to do some holiday traveling too.
Since tree farms are usually outside the city, on the way you might visit a small town, walk a park trail, have a picnic or try out a new restaurant, get temporarily lost and see something you didn’t expect. Most likely you will see lots of beautiful evergreen trees – depending on location: spruce, fir, cedar, pine, cypress, holly and more.
Did I mention I‘m from Washington State? The Evergreen State? We’ve got lots of magnificent trees. In fact, the city of Shelton in Western Washington is so well known for its trees that it calls itself
“Christmas Town USA.”
Although the official 2008 White House Christmas tree is from North Carolina, Washington trees held that honor in 2004, 2002 and 1999. Oregon and California have lots of beautiful trees too. In fact, Oregon is the top Christmas tree producing state in the nation. Washington is ranked sixth and California is tenth.
There are many Christmas tree farms throughout these states that will let you walk their fields, select just the right tree and cut it with a saw that they provide. Some will shake off old needles, flock the tree if you want, wrap it and help you load it onto your car. Some farms cut the tree for you or sell pre-cut trees.
In addition to trees, the farms might sell wreaths, garlands, and decorations. Most offer complimentary apple cider or cocoa. Some have a gift shop, hold craft fairs or wreath making workshops, and offer activities for kids. Some have petting zoos, train rides, Santa visits, hay rides and so on.
If you want a more adventurous option, consider purchasing a permit to cut your tree on U.S. Forest lands. For example in Washington State, a $5 Forest Service Christmas tree permit allows you to cut one tree in the Olympic National Forest. Contact your local U.S. Forest Office for details or visit www.fs.fed.us.
Regardless of where you get your tree, remember as in all travel, it’s the journey not the destination. Try to relax, enjoy the season and make good memories. Here's a list of
cut-your-own tree farms.
Happy travels and happy tree hunting!
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